Clay is worthy of title world’s greatest athlete
Bryan Clay of Kaneohe won the gold medal in the decathlon at the Olympic Games.
In the legacy of Jim Thorpe and Bob Mathias, Kaneohe's Bryan Clay is the right person to restore the Olympic decathlon's gold medal to its proper stature. Clay recognizes that the title of the world's greatest athlete goes with the medal he won, and his audacity in calling for such recognition is well-placed.
More attention was given to swimmer Michael Phelps' eight gold medals. Clay's victory was overshadowed on Friday by Jamaican Usain Bolt's role in a world record 4x100-meter relay after he had won the 100 and 200 sprints, earning him the title of the world's fastest man.
Clay's athleticism is spread across such activities as sprinting, hurdling, jumping for distance and height, launching a shot put, javelin and discus, and ending with an exhausting 1,500-meter run. That is why the winner has been called the world's greatest athlete, although with faded meaning.
"I'm happy with being the person to do it," Clay said after his victory at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. "I'd love for this to be a spark for the decathlon and bring it back to the forefront of track and field. We've got the title of world's greatest athlete and it's back on U.S. soil."
Clay's remarks shouldn't be regarded as self-centered. His first wish is that the medal will bring attention to his Bryan Clay Foundation, created to provide scholarships to underprivileged, Hawaii-born high school athletes.
The decathlon silver medalist in 2004, Clay already is looking to the 2012 Olympics in London, where a gold would match Mathias' two decathlon victories in 1948 and 1952 and Great Britain's Daley Thompson's in 1980 and 1984. Any Clay medal in London would set a world all-time record of three in the decathlon.
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